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NASA ready to resume shuttle mission preparations
Posted: Thu, Aug 1, 2002, 11:25 PM ET (0325 GMT)
Shuttle main engine inspection (NASA/KSC) NASA is expected to announce a revised shuttle launch schedule on Friday after determining the best way to fix cracks found in shuttle fuel lines. According to press reports, NASA will schedule the next shuttle launch on September 28, with the launch of Atlantis on mission STS-112 to the International Space Station. Endeavour would follow on November 2 on STS-113, a crew transfer mission to ISS. Columbia would then launch in late November on STS-107, a non-ISS science mission. STS-107 was slated to be the next mission before cracks were found in fuel flow liners in all four shuttles; it is being moved back to avoid further delays to the more time-critical ISS missions. The new schedule is expected to be announced by NASA during a Friday afternoon press conference. NASA will also use the press conference to announce that it will weld cracks found in the flow liners, even though it appears that the shuttles would be safe to fly without any repairs. According to the AP, the cracks had gone unnoticed for some time — most likely years — until a 27-year-old technician with 20/20 vision noticed them during a routine inspection of Atlantis.
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